DEL MAR CRIES FOUL
Lawmaker asks for Napolcom’s legal basis for suspending Tommy’s supervisory power over the Cebu City police force
A staunch ally of Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña has taken up the cudgels for the mayor, asking Congress to investigate the decision of the National Police Commission (Napolcom) to strip Osmeña of his authority over the city’s police force.
In a privilege speech delivered before the House of Representatives yesterday, Cebu City north district Congressman Raul del Mar questioned the legality of the Napolcom en banc resolution that took away Osmeña’s authority over the police and called on the House Committee on Local Government to investigate.
“Seemingly a parochial issue affecting only Cebu City, this, however, might also happen to your mayors and governors in your respective districts,” del Mar said to members of Congress.
Rep. Del Mar believed that Napolcom was “grossly misinformed that Mayor Osmena is guilty engaging in acts inimical to national security or which negate the effectiveness of the peace and order campaign as alleged.”
Del Mar also questioned Napolcom’s failure to consult him and south district Representative Rodrigo Abellanosa prior to the withdrawal of Osmeña’s deputation citing Section 65 of Republic Act 8551 or the Philippine National Police (PNP) Reform and Reorganization Act of 1998.
According to Section 65 of RA 8551, deputation can only be suspended after consultation with the concerned provincial governor and congressman, if the executive is found with: (a) Frequent unauthorized absences; (b) Abuse of authority; (c) Providing material support to criminal elements or (d) Engaging in acts inimical to national security or which negate the effectiveness of the peace and order campaign.
“Which ground was used as the basis of the withdrawal of deputation of Mayor Osmena? The fourth ground which is engaging in acts inimical to national security or which negate the effectiveness of the peace and order campaign?” del Mar wanted to know from Napolcom.
In an en banc resolution last week, Napolcom took back Osmeña’s authority over the local police as a deputized agency representative.
A copy of the resolution was sent to City Hall on August 10 and received by then acting mayor Edgar Labella.
Osmeña, who was on a US trip for his annual medical check up from August 4 to 14, was not around when the Napolcom order was served at City Hall.
Section 64 of RA 8551 provides that governors and mayors are automatically deputized as representatives of the Napolcom in their respective jurisdictions.
Osmeña said in an earlier interview that he withdrew support for the local police after the PNP ordered the transfer of two of his trusted police officials — former Central Visayas director Chief Supt. Patrocinio Commendador and former city police director Senior Supt. Benjamin Santos.
In his speech before Congress, the Cebuano congressman also wanted to be clarified on Napolcom’s allegations that Osmeña had withdrawn support for the police when the city government, in fact, has continued to pay for the water, electricity and telephone bills of the local police, del Mar said.
Osmeña, according to del Mar, also continued releasing the monthly allowances of policemen assigned in the city.
What Osmeña stopped, del Mar said, was the release of cash rewards to policemen who are able to arrest or kill drug suspects and criminals during their operations.
“He (Osmeña) decides whether the stoppage is permanent or temporary since this cash reward comes from his personal funds,” del Mar said.
Contrary to Napolcom claims, del Mar said, City Hall also continues to release about 5,950 liters of premium fuel and 12,850 liters of diesel fuel valued at about P0.6M per month to police vehicles.
While he could not be certain on the release of the 15 vehicles and three vans which Osmeña earlier promised to the police, del Mar said “this does not detract from the fact that there are 100 motor vehicles, including 64 motorcycles that are at the disposal of the Cebu City Police Office.”
City Hall, he said, also provided P1.7 million worth of communication equipment to the police.
Efforts to contact Napolcom and PNP Regional Director Noli Taliño last night proved futile.
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